Author: Avery (24.178.65.---)
Date: 06-04-04 03:00
These are Proclus interpretation and arguements of the Timeaus:
Each element of the cosmos that is in its natural place either remains there or is moved in a circle; an element outside its proper place is moved directly toward that place; therefore, if all elements are either in their respective natural places or go directly to that place, then all the elements are always either in or oriented torwards natural places and the all remains unchanged and is eternal.
An element in its natural place an be moved out of this place only by force, because by nature it moves towards or remains in this place; the elements of the all are always by nature; therefore, if the elements are in their natural places, the all must be changed and so eternal.
If the all was generated, then before it was ordered the elements were either 1) in their natural places or 2) in non-natural plaecs. 1) If before the all was ordered, the elements were in their natural places, then they would remain there or be moved in a circle; this is what they do by nature; therefore, on this assumption, the all was ordered before it was ordered. Therefore, the all is eternal, for this is the only thing that can account for it.
2) If before the all was ordered, the eleents were in non-natural places, who moved them into their natural places? (The elements are not self-movers and so, since they are moved directly, a mover is required.)
Consequently, there are two principles: the natural and the unnatural, which is a principle even though it depends upon the natural. If the cosmos were generated, a contradiction would result: the unnatural would be both prior to the natural, because the natural is generated out of it, and poserior to the natural, because, being a derangement of it, the unntural always presupposes the natural. Indeed, it is unclear whether natural places could be at all, and if bodies were not generated in them, or if bodies were senior to them for all time. Bodies and place come to be simultaneously, but natural place is prior to body in defintion. But if there are no natural places, then there are no unnatural places either, because the unnatural presupposes the natural. Hence any assumption that elminates natural place eliminates all place and there is "nowhere" in which body may be generated; such a view must be false.
But at any earlier time, bodies must have been in their natural places, as they are now; and so natural places and the cosmos must be eternal: the cosmos must presuppose first natural place and then alien place, which is always in relation to natural place; therefore the cosmos must, as a cosmos, be eternal.
Defenition: Matter is for the sake of the all and is the receptacle of generation
If matter were to come from nothing, its relation to the all would be by chance, and, consequently, what has matter, that is, anything generated, would also be by chance. What has chance cannot be necessary and so cannot be permanent. Therefore, the work of the demiurge, who made the cosmos from matter, would not have permanence.
Matter is for the sake of generation and generation is that for the sake of which matter is, that is, matter is the means and generation its end. Because of this relation, they must co-operate with one another. If matter is eternal and for the sake of something, that is, generation, then generation too must be eternal. Therefore, matter and generation co-operate for all time.
The realm of becoming is generated by the demiurge putting form onto matter. Matter is of the form which is on it. Matter cannot even be said to be "matter" in the absence of form: it always presupposes the presence of form and needs nothing other than form. That is, form and matter are in a cause and effect relation. Therefore, wherever one finds matter, the effect, one also finds form, the cause, and the craftsman makes matter by making form present to it. Therefore, if matter is for generation and as such is all things potentially and needs nothing further in preparation for receiving form, then form is always present to it and matter is always for the sake of generation produced by the presence of form. The divine craftsman makes the cosmos by making form present to matter. Because this relation is eternal, the cosmos is ungenerated and incorruptible in the sense of without beginning or end; as forms are eternal, so too is the cosmos. Matter is of the cosmos, not apart from it and is also for the sake of the cosmos and for the sake of form. Therefore, as soon as matter is, the cosmos too is, and the cosmos is eternal.
Everything generated requires two causes, matter and a maker. Consequently, if something generated is not eternal but has being only temporarily, it is not eternal either because the matter is peculiarly unfit or because the maker has failed at his work or for both reasons: the matter is unfit and the maker is not self-sufficient. If the cosmos was not at some earlier time or will not be at some later time, it has expereinced this not-being either because of the matter or because of whatever made it a cosmos. But the latter is always self-sufficient for the process of making inasmuch as the maker is always the same and not differnt at different times; therefore either the maker either the maker is not adequate for constructing the cosmos now or is adequate both now and earlier and later. And the matter was either always and uniformly fit for the construction of the cosmos, just as in the same wasy it is also either fit now or not fit now, since it is always and uniformly the same being. For the matter is unchangeable, just as the maker is unalterable. If everything that is at one time and is not at another is such either either because the maker is not sufficient for the job or the matter is not always serviceable, then (since it is the case neither that the maker of the cosmos is at one time sufficient to make and at another time not sufficient, nor that the matter is at one time serviceable and at another time not serviceable) it cannot be that the all at one time is and at another is not. Therefore, for all time both the demiurge makes and the matter is organized into the cosmos and the cosmos is eternal.
Every body has one motion natural to it; the natural motion of a spherical body is circular; the motions of the four elements are straight, e.g., up or down; therefore, the heavenly body, which is sperical, cannot be one of the four elements, but must transcend tem.
Generation and corruption belong to opposites; the four elements have opposites and are generated and corrupted into one anoter; there is no motion contrary, i.e, opposite to circular locomotion from which or into which generation or corruption can occur; therefore, the cosmos is ungenerated and incorruptible.
The parts of the cosmos are ungenerated and inorruptible; the cosmos is uperior to its parts, because the parts are for the sake of the whole and not the converse; therefore, even more than its parts, the cosmos must be ungenerated and incorruptible.
From Arabic Translators: ''The first argument by which we make clear that the cosmos is everlasting is taken from the goodness of the creator. For no persuasion is firmer than the demonstration frim this fact: the all resembles that paradigm by virtue of which reality came ot it, and from which its being is. That resemblance follows since the coming to be of the all is due to goodness alone. Hence goodness produces the all, because it is inconceivable to say that his making is due to anything other than goodness, while not at the same time saying that he is sometimes good and sometimes not good. Thus goodness was always a cause for the being of the cosmos, because the coming into being of the cosmos was congruent with the being of the maker. For we do not find anything which in any way could have only made the world because it is good and yet not to be making it eternally while it is eternally good.
So, since the maker has always been good, he thus has laways desired that all things resemble himself, for this is good. Now if he desires that all things resemble himself, then he can make all things resemble himself, since he is lord and master of all things; thus if he has desired that all things resemble himself and he can make all things resemble himself, then he did so eternally. That is to say, whatever he does not do, then his not ding it is either because he does not want to act or because he cannot act (if he is one of those, who can be subject to one of these two alternatives.) So if the creator most high has made the cosmos from his goodness, then he has made it eternally. Thus from that fact, it is necessary that the cosmos was neither generated some time go, nor that it will be corrupted in some other time.
The statement that he cannot make what he wants is worthy of contempt, because whenver one is sometimes capable and sometimes not capaple, this one must be alterable and passible. That is, one's loss of power is the cause of being affected, for everything has a cause. Now the thing that cahnges from not having power to having power has been altered because potency and impotence both pertain to quality, and alteration is change in quality. Thus, if he is eternally capable of making and eternally wanting to make, then it is necessarily necessary that he is making eternally, and the all is made eternally and the cosmos is eternally, just as the maker is a maker eternally. However the maker is eternal, whereas the cosmos eternally is coming into being, and so the meaning of eternal is not exactly the same for both of them. Rather its meaning for the maker is "eternity" or "eternal" while its meaning for the cosmos is time which is without limit. For the thing which is concurrent with what is, the meaning of "eternal" is "eternity" and "eternal," while for the thing which is concurrent with what is coming into being is time.''
General Principles to Look for in the Timeaus: (A) What is disordered resists order. (B) Order is never posterior to disorder. (C) From the moment there is order, there is cosmos. (D) The demiurge is uniform, unchaning and eternal.